Most differences in DNA binding compounds found at birth in children conceived by IVF not seen in early childhood

NIH study results bolster previous studies finding no growth, development differences with IVF

Compared to newborns conceived traditionally, newborns conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF) are more likely to have certain chemical modifications to their DNA, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health. The changes involve DNA methylation — the binding of compounds known as methyl groups to DNA — which can alter gene activity. Only one of the modifications was seen by the time the children were 9 years old.

The study was conducted by Edwina Yeung, Ph.D., and colleagues in NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Previous studies by the research team found no differences in growth and development for this group.

“Our study found only small differences in DNA methylation at birth and these were not seen in early childhood,” Dr. Yeung said. “When considered along with our previous studies finding no differences in children’s growth and development, our current study should be reassuring to couples who have conceived with fertility treatments and to those considering these methods.”

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This page was last updated on Friday, January 21, 2022